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For over a decade, Pantone (the self-professed world-renowned authority on color) chooses a single color that they predict will be influential in the coming year. In case you missed it last year, their pick was 15-5519 Turquoise, because, as the official press release declared, “Turquoise transports us to an exciting, tropical paradise while offering a sense of protection and healing in stressful times.” For 2011, Pantone selected 18-2120 Honeysuckle – a medium reddish pink, and¬† released this statement: “Energizing honeysuckle lifts spirits and imparts confidence to meet life’s ongoing challenges.” Pretty heavy stuff. But if that isn’t a great reason to go shopping for a new pair of shoes, I don’t know what is ūüėČ

So, the official color is Honeysuckle, but I think any pink or coral colored shoe will be in the spirit of things. And designers are knocking out tons of pink shoes for resort and spring collections, so finding a pair right now is easy. If you’re looking for something to start you off early and keep you cozy as the winter slowly ends, I recommend the Koolaburra ugg boots in a soft pink below or an enclosed pink suede pump like the pair pictured by Kelsi Dagger (with the cutest removable elastic bow!).

Pantone says that you can easily pair Honeysuckle with basic colors like black, navy, charcoal or light to mid gray. But, for something more exciting, they suggest mixing in complementary bronze greens or a pinkish Apricot Brandy brown hues into your wardrobe with it. I vote pairing these with a maxi dress or with jeans and a drapey cream-colored blouse. Just remember these shoes are made to be the focal point of a basic outfit.

For the start of warm weather, Manolo Blahnik flip flop sandals are actually an almost-affordable way to enjoy the brand. You should also take a look at jumping on two trends at once by going for a platform style (or a “flatform” – an essentially flat shoe as far as feel goes, with equal or near equally tall platforms front and back) or an espadrille (always a summer favorite). And of course, since I have a special place in my heart for Melissa shoes, I was happy to see they’re also making a few pink shoes this season so that I could feature one here.

You know, maybe there is something to what Pantone said; I already feel my spirits lifting just by imagining walking out of the house with these shoes. I’m sure we can rationalize a pair of two now, especially if our mental health is at stake ūüėČ

Jeffrey Campbell The Turino Shoe

Koolaburra Savanitty

Kelsi Dagger Tiffany

Manolo Blahnik Suede-Flower Thong Sandal

Dolce Vita Strappy Platform Wedge

Prada Cutout Espadrille Wedge

Stella McCartney Raffia Crossover Sandals

Lanvin Ankle-Wrap Platform Wedge

seychelles harlow

Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Anglomania

swamisz logo

You may have already met in my previous blog on crazy new flip-flop styles, but now I’d like to formally introduce you to Swamisz! Founded in 2006 in Australia, Swamisz were previously sold only in the land down under, but they are now shipping all over the world from their fun website to the delight of toes everywhere! Swamisz sandals are unique because of their disconnected toe plug (imagine a mushroom shape) that keeps the shoe on your foot without your having to grip them actively with your toes; your feet can actually¬†relax while walking… and running at traffic lights, going down stairs, etc., things other flip-flops have problems with (yeah, personal experience talking here).

Swamisz are made with natural rubber (a renewable eco-friendly resource, of course) and their sandals are a lot sturdier than your basic rubber¬†flip-flops. Not only are the straps and toe plug made a little thicker, the Swamisz strap is extra reinforced at the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about these plugs pulling out while you’re walking (the fate of so many old flip-flops). All that and they’re seriously comfortable!

IMG_0884

The shoe bag! (reverse has brand name & logo)

IMG_0886

Note the extra reinforced bottom - love that unique slightly pointed shape too.

My Swamisz (above) arrived in¬†a standard brown shipping box, but inside the box, they were wrapped in a super cute (and hand-stenciled!) cotton shoe bag. A shoe bag coming with shoes that cost less than $300!!? I’m in heaven! (and, yes, a little ridiculously obsessed with shoe bags ). The tag booklet (printed on 100% recycled eco paper) was equally as cute, if not more so, so I have to share part of it below:

“Swamisz (swaa-meez) n. – 1. Designer footwear made with natural rubber and held securely on foot by distinctive toe plug and support strap. 2. Contemporary footwear; an evolution of design modeled on ancient Indian wooden shoes names ‘Paduka.’ Dating back over 5000 years.. ‘Padukas’ are said to be worn by the Gods. 3. Chosen footwear of India’s Swamis; respected, enlightened masters of self-realization* 4. Chosen footwear of those who know that mere ordinary flip-flops are “so passe.”

*wearing Swamisz may not lead to enlightenment…buy hey… at least you’re looking good.”

Swamisz colors 2

Now let’s¬†get to the important part, Swamisz retail for $35 plus shipping!!! And you were¬†getting worried, weren’t you ? They currently offers¬†soles in 11 different color for you to choose from, all with a black strap and black toe plug, except for their signature orange version which is solid orange. I chose the not too girly-girly purple color which is dark enough to go with any outfit but still bright enough to be fun; but honestly, it took me hours to decide. You should also note that sizes are in AU (Australian) from 4-12 but their website does give you a nice size conversion chart complete with US, Canada, Euro, UK, Japanese¬†sizes and centimeters to compare your foot to. I’ve found that women wearing US sizes should generally order¬†one size down. If you wear a size 8, you’ll probably want to order a Swamisz size 7.¬†¬†Now get out there and start being a flip-flop free thinker!

As they say, “Swamis and Yoga masters don’t wear them for nothing.”

my kitty stopped scratching to sneak a peek at these shoes

Even my kitty had to stop mid-scratch to take a look!

I think the title is enough for this blog ;), so let’s jump right in to the examples and the pictures! My first pick, and I had to give you two angles so you could really see what’s going on this the toes on these shoes, are the eco-friendly and ethical Dopie sandals by Terra Plana. The Dopie was designed with the idea of finding the most minimal footwear possible (the philosophy being that barefoot is best for the body but not always practical). You can actually even wear the shoes without¬†the strap!!¬†There are also TONS of colors, so don’t worry if green isn’t your thing.

In the second row¬†is a pair of sporty flip-flops, the Waimea H2 by Keen. You might need to take a second look at these shoes, they have a sole that turns up and attaches to an extended strap of the upper! I’ve spotted similar soles on running shoes and other shoes but never on flip-flops. I’m sure this sole makes these shoes great for dusty trails and hiking on pebbly paths, heck, even dirty New York sidewalks – and of course, protection against the dreaded stubbed toe! They also have a cute, eco-friendly version with a colorful upper of woven rice paper!

Next, I found a pair of Swamisz, which also come in tons of color combinations. These shoes are finally now available in the US (previously just in Australia), and like so many AU¬†brands that have come before them, Swamisz are sure to be a big hit! They claim that you do not even need to actively grip with your toes to keep these shoes on (often the main reason people don’t like thong sandals); the toe portion is made in such a way to naturally stay on your feet.¬† My pair¬†is on its way, so I’ll give you way more info as soon as I try them out!

Terra Plana Dopie Green 2 Terra Plana Dopie Green
Keen Waimea H2 Swanusz blue black

I have problems with so many flip-flops because some designers just don’t think about comfort when they’re choosing the material that goes between your toes! I can’t even count how many times a leather seam was positioned wrong and caused me crazy pain. That’s part of the reason why I love the gold Steve Madden flip-flops below; just two pieces of soft, stretch material crossed over the big toe.

But I can tell you that I’ve never had a problem with Havaianas, which have been around forever. This new version with a strap around the ankle is just different enough to really wow people. And the adjustable buckle is rare (and genius!) on a rubber shoe.¬†There’s a great¬†review here about¬†the Havaianas below from Tasha Nita Adams’ (L.A. style expert) experience. And last, I’ve found a wacky pair of daytime thong sandals¬†with a fuzzy insole (oh Uggs, you’ll put shearling on anything). I’m not too sure about taking these to the beach or the pool, but for daily flip-flops, they should be pretty cozy. Next to the Uggs are a pair of foot-hugging monkey thongs that are just plain fun (and float as a bonus)! Sugar brand shoes are always creative.

Steve Madden Showoff Havaianas Fit 2
Ugg Fluffie flip flop Sugar Go Ape thongs

Last of all, even though they’re not flip-flops, I wanted to include the two shoes below because they are crazy – so we’re still half topical. ūüėČ The very noticeable Vibram FiveFingers shoes below¬†are the only outdoor shoes I know of that don’t clump your toes together in one space with the rest of your foot. The sole of the shoe actually covers the bottom of where each toe sits individually. Vibram claims that separating your toes creates improves balance, overall foot health & posture. These toe-tastic shoes even come in 3 other varieties that work for you in different ways based on the activities you plan on doing in them – such as running, yoga, boating, martial arts, surfing, climbing, travel, etc. Don’t worry if you don’t do any of those activities though (it’s not stopping me anyway), do you only wear sneakers for sporty activities, even if that’s what they’re technically designed for? P.S. FiveFingers are vegan friendly too!

In the same train of thought, I found these split toe Air Rift shoes by totally mainstream brand Nike (shaped like traditional Japanese tabi socks). It’s a little hard to see below (since almost everyone is sold out – I suggest eBay if you want a pair), but if you click on the shoes below, you can get a nice multi-view from¬†Zappos¬†including the bottom of the sole. Nike says the design was “inspired by barefoot runners of Kenya.”

I guess the message is, whether in flip flops or whatever, Neglect your toes no longer!

Vibram FiveFingers Classic Nike Air Rift

avatarAs American Airlines announces that they are going to start charging for all checked luggage and plane ticket prices spike across the board to cover rising fuel prices, you might be¬†feeling that¬†your future summer plans are about to fly out the window without you. Don’t worry, summer does not have to be spent next to the waving ribbons on your grandma’s window-mounted air conditioner.

Many travel sites are touting excellent options that miraculously avoid airfare to Europe (and with the dollar weak on top of all this, it may be a blessing in disguise). A variety of cruise ships dock along both the east or west coasts which means a shorter and less expensive flight than going anywhere across the ocean directly. Also many cruises are all-inclusive, which is a great way to stretch your dollar as well as more transit fun than being crowded into a germ-filled airplane with no leg room. 

Unlike boats requiring¬†traditional deck shoes, cruise ships mean your feet don’t even have to get close to water if you don’t want them to. So bring on the summer styles! Most ships (and the ports you dock at) will also have ample opportunities to dress up too, so don’t forget about the heels¬†(my favorite for beachy lo-cals are always espadrilles).

The trend-setters in NYC, now vacationing all over the world, are wearing strappy gladiator styles (like my first pick below which is of the cool, studded variety) and flip flops with medallion embellishments like these pretty gold ones by DKNY (no one I’ve read has printed on this trend much, surprisingly, but you’ll see it everywhere). One trend that people have been talking about (forever) are metallic colors and there is no better way to wear it than with summer-bronzed skin (or super-pale-covered-in-sunscreen skin works too!). These Fornarina heels have a great metallic gold color and I really dig the braided straps and wooden sole.

Via Spiga Wint DKNY Fornarina Sand

Though hot right now, sometimes gladiator styles can be a little too high-drama for many women. But there are always ways of incorporating any trend into anyone’s wardrobe (give me a challenge!): this simplistic version in black in my second row are killer on-trend now and yet won’t look like last season’s garbage for many summers to come.¬† On the other end of the spectrum is a trend that you might¬†consider timeless or just something to try for a season (or never): the Birkenstock style. If you love it, you might die for the neon green Michael Kors below. But, like it or not, I’d expect to see at least one or two of these cushy, foot-molding soles in your local trendy¬†stores next summer, so get ready.¬†Philip Lim may¬†even be¬†credited with starting¬†the trend.

And if you don’t plan on vacationing this summer? Throw away your dirty old flip flops from last year and treat yourself to a new pair with a little dressy spunk to them. My last selection by Dr. Scholl’s have your basic flip flop comfort and are begging for a luau (ok, backyard bbq!). Hey, your shoes might just inspire you to build your own Hawaiian island retreat at home (don’t forget a blender and some coconut shells for the pina coladas).

Steve Madden Signature Bele KORS Michael Kors Grand Pri Dr. Scholl's Lyric

Happy Summer planning! Summer officially begins June 21st.
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